When you’re in the market for a supercar, you look towards Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and other such exotica, but it’s not often an owner sells up his Italian muscle in favour of something Japanese, as Stuart has. After a string of 560kW-plus muscle cars and exotics, the idea of simply ‘downgrading’ to a GT-R would seem ludicrous to most. However, when you’ve got plans as wild as Stuart had, there’s only one car capable of achieving them.
“I wanted something that could do 400kph, 0–100kph in under two seconds, and be driven like a daily driver. It had to be comfortable, reliable, handle well, and have the ability to be upgraded,” Stuart told us during our first meeting. It wasn’t until we received the spec sheet that we believed him — initially, we thought there was a typo in the power section: “1600hp [1193kW] at the wheels, surely he means 600hp”. A quick phone call to the crazy men behind the build at Dodson Motorsport confirmed that yes, Stuart’s GT-R was in fact producing 1342kW at the flywheel, and around 1193kW at the wheels. But it appeared so factory, even the engine bay looked hardly worked compared to a production model. We had to know more.
The R35 GT-R was Nissan’s answer to the world’s demand for an anywhere, anytime, anybody supercar. It has the ability to be driven fast by everybody, it’s comfortable and reliable. But most of all, the revised VR38DETT engine, which was now 3800cc compared to the 2600cc of previous GT-Rs, had even greater potential thanks to recent advances in technology. However, with the addition of the large-capacity V6 the GT-R lost its Skyline name, and many diehard in-line-six fans with it. But as we’ve seen since the GT-R’s release, this is an extremely potent machine, capable of unheard-of feats.
Stuart had a plan in mind for the GT-R before he purchased it. A suitable example was bought, and he drove it around for a few months completely standard. As we all know, this car is no slouch in factory form, with 358kW at the flywheel, a 0–100kph time of 3.6 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds. With almost 1000kW more on the cards, Stuart had planned to build a true road-going monster. Stuart and Glenn at Dodson came up with a plan for the build, and a price was given. Parts were sourced from all over the world, and Stuart dropped the GT-R off for the first stage of the build.
The engine received the strongest internals on offer for the VR38, including a billet crank and Manley rods and pistons. Dodson installed its very own CNC head package, filled with Kelford cams and valve springs, and oversized Inconel valves. Tubular stainless-steel turbo manifolds take care of mounting the twin HTA GT37 billet turbos, and a four-inch straight-through titanium exhaust with dual exits looks after the ultra-high-temp gasses.
Mounted to the GReddy intake plenums is a custom top fuel rail by Dodson, with six 1500cc Bosch Motorsport injectors. A lower fuel rail feeds another six 1050 injectors controlled by a Turbosmart high-power fuel-pressure regulator, and apart from Iridium spark plugs, the Nissan’s factory coil set-up remains as is.
With over a megawatt of power planned, Dodson knew its biggest and baddest transmission components would be required. It now features an extreme gear set, upgraded internals, clutch packs, upgraded software, variable torque management and launch control software, so the GT-R should have no problems in this department. Stuart also opted for a gearset designed for Bonneville — it’s geared to 475kph, and he has every intention of making the trip to America to run on the salt.
Glenn at Dodson handed the keys over to Stuart with the GT-R now producing 895kW (1200hp) at the flywheel on pump fuel. “This was great, it gave me the chance to get used to the car with this much power. With such big turbos, the power comes on in a big hit,” he told us.
A few months later Stuart gave the GT-R back to Dodson for its first E85 tune, and 1193kW (1600hp) at the flywheel was the result. As Stuart was dead set on the 1800–1900hp mark, the GT-R was sent to Dodson one last time, a week before the photo shoot, for its last tune — it’s safe to say he turned up with a very big smile on his face. A final figure of 1193kW at the wheels was achieved using around 28psi of boost, and E85. “At full throttle, she’ll use 15 litres of fuel a minute,” Stuart told us. Given a factory tank, it’s safe to say Stuart carries spare fuel around in the boot.
Numbers — cars are nothing without them, and Stuart made sure to get a couple of numbers for us before the feature. To use as a comparison, here are the 0–100kph times for some other supercars. A Lamborghini Aventador takes 2.8 seconds, a Bugatti Veyron takes 2.5 seconds, a Ferrari Enzo takes 3.1 seconds. Stuart’s R35 takes only 1.6 seconds. Even more impressive is the 0–200kph time of just 2.9 seconds. These times are with power-limited first and second gears, too — 671kW in first, 895kW in second, followed by the full monty in third. The suspension is factory, and the wheels have been downsized in order to fit M&H Racemaster street-legal drag radials, an essential for a car of this nature.
For now, Stuart plans to get the GT-R out to anything he can to enjoy the power, as you can imagine, being able to hit the signposted speed limit here in New Zealand in only 1.6 seconds must be a touch frustrating.
People like Stuart and the team at Dodson push the limits of what we know to be crazy here in New Zealand, and really make you wonder what another 10 years of development will see the VR38 engine producing. If the extremely successful RB26 is anything to go by, then we’re in for one hell of a ride.
2008 Nissan GT-R (R35)
- Model: VR38DETT, 3800cc, six cylinder
- Block: Billet Sunny Bryant crank, Manley rods and pistons, aftermarket main studs and head studs
- Head: DMS CNC head package, Kelford Cams, Kelford Cams springs, oversized Inconel 1mm valves
- Intake: GReddy intake manifold, DMS modified intakes
- Turbo: Twin HTA GT37 turbos with billet compressor wheels
- Wastegate: Twin water-cooled TiALs
- BOV: Twin Turbosmart
- Fuel: DMS top fuel rail with 1500cc Bosch Motorsport injectors, GReddy bottom fuel rail with 1050cc Bosch motorsport injectors, four Walbro 485cc E85 fuel pumps with speed control, Turbosmart high-power fuel-pressure regulator
- Ignition: Iridium spark plugs
- Exhaust: Stainless-steel tubular turbo manifolds, four-inch titanium exhaust system
- Cooling: DMS custom cooling system, custom oversized ETS intercoolers
- ECU: DMS tuned MoTeC M1, custom transmission controller
- Other: DMS custom breather system, Techno heat proofing
- Gearbox: GR6 transmission, DMS extreme-duty six-speed gear set, DMS transmission internals, DMS billet shift forks
- Clutch: DMS 11-plate Promax, DMS upgraded front clutch kit with billet clutch housing
- Flywheel: DMS
- Diff: (F) Quaife differential (R) OS Giken LSD
- Other: Variable torque management and launch control
- Struts: Factory
- Springs: Factory
- Brakes: Factory calipers, high performance brake pads
- Wheels: (F) 18x9.5-inch Rays TE37V SL (R) 18x11-inch Rays TE37V SL
- Tyres: (F) 275/45R18 M&H Racemaster drag radials (R) 325/40R18 M&H Racemaster drag radials
- Paint: Factory
- Enhancements: Factory
- Seats: Factory
- Steering wheel: Factory
- Instrumentation: Factory
- Power: 1223kW (1640hp) at the wheels and 1720Nm of torque
- Driver/owner: Stuart Goldsworthy
- Age: 46
- Location: Whangamata
- Build time: Five months
- Length of ownership: One year
- Thanks: It’s been a great build and all the guys at Dodson Motorsport have been fantastic to deal with, nothing was ever a problem and they had nothing but solutions! I’d especially like to thank Glenn Cupit at Dodson Motorsport, he was amazing, and he’s an extremely clever guy with a wealth of knowledge. He always had time to explain to me what he was doing, and why he was doing it, no matter how busy he was or what day of the week it was!
This article was originally published in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 226. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below: